The Warhol soup can is the first important print that I ever bought. As a graduate student at the University of Richmond, I received a stipend of $75 dollars a month. The Warhol cost $300, and for four months I promptly delivered my hard-earned cash to the gallery. At last it was mine.
James W. Hyams
The James W. Hyams Collection
James W. Hyams started collecting art in 1967 when he was a student in college. The first work Hyams purchased—Vegetable Soup Can from Campbell’s Soup I by Andy Warhol—was paid for in installments and hung in his dorm room. A few years later, he purchased his second work by Warhol and from there collecting became a way of life.
Over the years, Hyams has amassed a stunning collection of prints from 1960s to the present day. From Warhol to Hirst, or Lichtenstein to Doig, his collection is about as contemporary as it gets. Focusing on works that he likes by influential artists, his collection of more than 400 prints is an exceptional survey of the most important art movements of the second half of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century.
Generous with his collection, Hyams has loaned many works to galleries and universities, sharing his collection with a public audience. Further, his pieces are proudly on display in his home, his acclaimed interior widely published.
I don't buy pieces that I don't like. But I do have a purpose in my collection. I am interested in buying key artists from the period.
James W. Hyams
Andy Warhol 1928–1987
Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to an impoverished immigrant family, Andy Warhol became an icon of the Pop Art movement and one of the most prolific artists of his time. Though he suffered from physical ailments throughout childhood, he went on to study fine arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and shortly thereafter moved to New York in 1949. His career in commercial illustration took off creating whimsical designs for Glamour, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker magazines. In the early 1950s, he began exhibiting his work in the city and received his first solo show at the Hugo Gallery in 1952 featuring his earliest depictions of actress Marilyn Monroe.
The 1960s ushered in a wave of his iconic work pioneering the dialogue between high and low art. His screen printed, painterly images established his reputation commenting on popular culture with subject matter including celebrities, politics, advertisements, and parties. In 1964, Warhol rented a studio that became known as “The Factory” where his work was mass produced by a team of assistants. During the middle of the decade, Warhol focused on filmmaking and performance art, creating approximately 600 films. He later collaborated with musicians including The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground, published several books, produced televisions shows, and founded Interview Magazine in 1967. After experiencing a near-fatal shooting at The Factory, he became more reserved and his body of work shifted into commissioned portraits, and in his final years he focused on religious subject matter. Andy Warhol died in New York City in 1987 after facing postoperative complications.
A few years following his death, The Andy Warhol Museum was opened in Pittsburgh and in 2002 Warhol’s achievements were honored with an 18-inch stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.